What I’m Doing

If you have followed this blog for the last 12-18 months, you will have seen the subject matter shift from bitching about the NCAA, to fiction, to posts about whatever happened to be in my mind at that moment, to increasingly about beer.  It would seem that I’m flitting about from idea to idea and obsession to obsession with no real objective.  That is partially true, but not totally.

It has been a search for what I am good at.  Up until this point the happiest I have been with the blog was when writing fiction.  I like writing fiction.  The thing I like most about it is the creation of the characters, then learning more about them as I put them through the plot.  However, I have always preferred writing nonfiction rather than fiction.  I have always had lots of ideas and beliefs I have wanted to express in my writing.  

Many authors have many ideas and beliefs they want to express through their fiction.  Unfortunately, they sometimes forgetting that they are trying to tell a story and not write a polemic.  I’ve struggled with this too.  I do not want to write stories that forget to tell the stories and forget to be truthful art because it is too busy trying to make a point about racism, poverty, or whatever.  So, I continue to go back to non-fiction.

So, how why has beer become my chosen subject as opposed to sports?  I like beer.  It starts there.  I also like sports, but I have become increasingly disenchanted with the mess that the NCAA and the NFL/NBA have made of college sports.

Let me be more specific about beer, I love craft beer.  The idea that beer all comes from the same basic recipe and with just a slight change to one of the four ingredients and you create a wholly different beer. 

The other thing I love about beer is how it works with food.  The properties of beer make it a wonderful companion to almost any meal and if you find the exact right beer for what you are eating it makes any meal a special event.  This has led to chefs and breweries working together to create beer and food pairings dinners.  However, as much as I would love to go to one of the dinners chefs like Sean Paxton and Schuyler Schultz put on, I like most people will not get many if any chances to taste a pairing of Bear Republic Big Bear Stout with a House-Smoked Niman Ranch Pork Leg with Grilled Peaches served with a Peach Chutney and Grilled Scallions (pairing and recipe from Schultz’s great book Beer, Food, and Flavor). 

What I don’t want to see happen with craft beer is the thing that happened with wine in this country.  Wine has become the province of the rich, the aesthetes, and hipsters.  Let’s not get it twisted, I want beers that are special and that are more expensive than other beers because they are rare and truly interesting and not because their availability has been artificially suppressed.  I also want good beer to be available to as many people as possible.  Again, I don’t want good beer to become the province solely of the rich or just another affectation of hipsters (For more go here). 

So, what I want to do is show how good beer can enhance everyday meals.  As much as chefs who respect beer like Paxton and Schultz have the skills and time to make the meals they make to match specifically to each beer they serve most people are just trying to figure out a beer that will make the baked chicken and au gratin potatoes taste a little bit better. 

The meals I am going to try and match will be the same meals everyone can and does make every day.  Now, I am a vegetarian and I am a Southerner.  So, all my meals will be vegetables and most will have a Southern bent as far as ingredients and taste. 

That’s what I’m doing now and I think it is a big enough field to play in for years.   Its beer and its food meaning there is a lot of stuff to explore.  

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